A bill seeking to expand what optometrists could do — namely, performing surgery and prescribing opiates — was an agenda item in the Florida House Health and Human Services Committee Thursday.
However, the bill at the center of Florida’s Eyeball Wars went unheard.
HB 1037, sponsored by Rep. Manny Diaz, barely cleared Health and Human Services Health Quality Subcommittee last month, on an 8-7 vote.
Last month, the Diaz bill — as was the case in subcommittee — was lauded by optometrists, who have long sought to expand their practices, and dissed by ophthalmologists, who see it as yet another attempt to encroach on their areas of practice.
HB 1037 seeks to expand optometry into the practice of medicine and laser surgery, in particular, a move fiercely opposed by ophthalmologists, who raise a concern over the comparative lack of instruction for optometrists.
A similar controversy was expected Thursday in the full committee, but it didn’t manifest.
As the measure stalls out in the House, it appears to be equally mired in the Senate, where Jack Latvala is carrying the bill.
There, it has yet to be heard by any of the three committees of reference.